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Illegal and Unauthorised Parking

There are a number of rules that apply to vehicle owners, not just when it comes to driving or insurance, but also regarding the way a car is parked. A car is the property of its owner and therefore their responsibility to ensure that it is not parked illegally on any public land, as set out in the Highway Code.

So, what is the difference between “Illegal Parking” and “Unauthorised Parking”? In short, it all comes down to whether you are parked on public or private land.

If a vehicle is found to be parked illegally on public land, the local authorities are at liberty to issue a parking ticket in the form of a Penalty Charge Notice (often referred to as a ‘PCN’ ), payable by the vehicle owner.

If a vehicle is parked on private land without authorisation then an approved and registered parking management company can issue a Parking Charge Notice, also payable by the vehicle owner.

What is illegal parking?

Drivers are found to be breaking the law if they are park in any of the following locations, according to the Highway Code:

  • On yellow lines during times of operation – always check the signs, as these will vary depending on location
  • On school entrance and/or keep clear markings
  • The carriageway or the hard shoulder of a motorway, unless in an emergency
  • A pedestrian crossing of any kind
  • A clearway where a vehicle is not allow to stop on the road or the side of the road under any circumstances or an urban clearway within its hours of operation (except to pick up or set down passengers)
  • A marked taxi bay
  • A road marked with double white lines (except to pick up or set down passengers)
  • A tram, pedestrian or cycle lane/track during the hours of operation
  • Red lines, unless shown otherwise on nearby signs
    On Private Land, where not authorised to do so

Where is it illegal for me to park?

The rules that apply to parking may differ depending on the street signs and local authorities, but there are various circumstances where drivers are never allowed to park.

The Highway Code, which applies to all motorists in the UK, sets out the rules on what constitutes illegal parking. It is an essential read for all drivers, which can be found here.

Unauthorised Parking on Private Property

Whether you’re a business or a homeowner, unauthorised vehicles parking on your private property can prove to be a headache. As a business, unauthorised motorists can take parking spaces that are  designated to your staff and visitors, which can cause real problems for employees that drive to work and could reflect badly on your business if you have partners and potential clients trying to access your offices.

If you have a retail business then parking abuse by non-customers is basically unauthorised parking whereby the driver does not have your permission to park, and is not your client, therefore affecting your business and impacting your earning/ sales potential.

At home, the last thing you need after a hard day’s work is to find that your driveway is occupied or obstructed by a vehicle that doesn’t belong to you. Working with a leading private car park management company like Creative Car Park can remove these problems for you.

How to stop unauthorised parking on private property?

If you are dealing with unauthorised parking issues on your private property, the police or your local authority do not have the power to deal with the problem, as parking on private land is not deemed an offence – it’s a civil matter.

Local authorities can only prevent unauthorised parking on private land where it is marked as an official car park covered by relevant by-laws.

However, this doesn’t mean that you have no recourse. Enforcement of parking privately is manageable and can be outsourced to a specialist operator endorsed by the BPA (British Parking Association) , so if you put up clearly visible signage which indicates no parking, the laws of contract and trespass apply and anyone who parks without authorisation is ordinarily deemed to be in acceptance of the terms of parking, which can include the additional parking charge.

If you are in possession of more parking spaces than you require for your employees, for example, you can designate parking bays for permit holders and ask your visitors to provide their details when coming to visit your offices.

To get the most out of your private car park management, companies like Creative Car Park offer parking solutions, which ask unauthorised vehicle owners to pay for their use of your parking space. If they have failed to pay, you are entitled to issue a parking ticket, called a ‘Parking Charge Notice (also abbreviated to ‘PCN’ in the context of private parking charge notices) which Creative Car Park can enforce for you. Creative Car Park is one of the UK’s leading car parking companies and ranks amongst the highest in BPA and POPLA performance.

It’s important to remember that this is a civil matter and in order to successfully claim for unpaid PCN’s in court, you must ensure that you have the correct and compliant signs visibly displayed in and around your land.

Solutions, such as electronic barriers that can only be accessed by a code or keyfob, can also be viable options, depending on the needs of your business.

How to report Illegal Parking in the UK?

To report an illegally parked vehicle, you will need to provide information on how the vehicle is parked, where it is parked (name of street), and specify whether it is breaching any of the rules in the Highway Code.

You can report unauthorised parking on public land to your local authority online on your local council’s website or via the phone.

If you believe a vehicle is dangerously parked, where it is a direct threat to others or it is causing obstruction, you can report it to the police by calling the non-emergency 101 number.

Alternatively, if you have persistent unauthorised parking on privately owned land, please get in contact with us to help.

Who we help

We’re the trusted UK car parking management company for businesses in every sector, including leisure, hospitality, retail parks, restaurants, the NHS, hotels and more:



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Doctors & Dentists

You don’t need to do anything, we take care of every aspect

At Creative Car Park, we can help prevent unlawful and unauthorised parking by offering unique parking solutions, tailored to meet your personal and business needs. We provide enforcement solutions that can be used in combination to provide maximum parking security.

Our solutions include:

To speak to one of our experienced advisors today, call us at 0333 242 5529 or contact us online.

Get in touch

We provide expert car park management solutions for individuals and businesses across the UK. Contact us via telephone, email or simply fill in the contact form below.
We will be more than happy to provide advice, guidance and solutions to any problems or queries you may have.

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